I Think I Need to go Back to School

Yesterday my seven year old son asked me, “So Mom, what exactly did Jesus death on the cross accomplish and how does it save us?

Apparently ‘Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins so we could be with him in heaven’ is no longer sufficient.

So, I began explaining both Penal Substitution and Christus Victor aspects of the atonement (because I think it’s both/and, not either/or). While I was struggling to communicate these concepts in language that a kid could understand, my ten year old nephew entered the room, and with a Socratic air, asked, “So what is sin? I mean really—what is it exactly?

Holy cow! It’s encouraging to see these guys really engaging their faith and seeking after more depth, and I think I did OK explaining…but I left that little discussion feeling like maybe I needed to go back to school!

Or maybe I should send the kids to seminary so they can explain things to me… 🙂

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5 thoughts on “I Think I Need to go Back to School”

  1. Lana – I could hear the merry and familiar sound of you laughing at my expense as I read your comment! 🙂

    Cara – He’s such a sweet, fun guy – and I’ve been enjoying this opportunity to see the world through his eyes a bit. 😉

  2. One time I had to explain the concept of sin and the cross and grace to some unbelievers and we were at a restaurant so my dad was explaining the sin part and he was not even Christian and he said that sometimes we see that chocolate brownie in front of us and something is telling us not to eat because we are diabetic and it could be bad for us but we do it against what is best for us. So basically put it like this – “You know like when Mommy tells you not to eat ice cream before your dinner and eat your carrots instead, it is not because she doesn’t love you but it is because she doesn’t want you to get sick. Same way when we sin we are not listening to God when He tells us not to do bad things. Jesus died for us so that we don’t have to get a spanking from God about whatever bad thing we did and so that we don’t have to be afraid that God is going to give us a spanking, but that he says it’s ok you ate the ice cream this time just don’t do it next time or else you’ll get really sick.” Ice cream is just an example, but you could use other things. Oops I thought you were talking about younger kids – but for older kids these days – who knows…try to use some kind of parable it’s the easiest way to explain without getting yourself overwhelmed and intellectual with theology.

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